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Scots are entitled to a judiciary free of political interference – Time for the SNP to butt out

 

 

 

Dismantling Scotland’s judicial system by stealth 

The 1707 Act of Union guaranteed the independence of the judiciary and Scottish law in perpetuity. But Westminster Unionist politicians and the House of Lords have rendered Scottish law impotent through the illegal imposition of the laws of “Greater England” on Scots for their own nefarious purposes. The insidious determination of the unionists to wipe out Scottish Law was further advanced in 1999 when the “Crown Office of Scotland” which had been independent from political interference for near 500 years was transferred lock, stock, and barrel to the control of the then Unionist supporting Scottish government. From that time the Scottish Judiciary has been subject to continuous pressure to remove from statute, trial by jury, not proven and other laws.

 

 

Removal of the judiciary system free from political control

Recent events in Holyrood have exposed the folly of transferring the  administration of the laws of Scotland to the political control of the Scottish Government.  The decision must be reversed without delay re-establishing the independence of the judiciary from political interference.

 

Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service – The NEN – North Edinburgh News

 

William Gordon Chalmers – the last truly independent Procurator Fiscal  of Scotland

Aberdonian William Gordon Chalmers was the permanent head of the procurator-fiscal service from 1974 to 1984 and zealously guarded the power of the Scots over their fiscal service.

He was a man of traditional values but was endowed with great vision to build a service to meet the challenges of the future and cope with an increase in serious crime at a time of economic stringency.

He was proud of his Aberdeen roots, having attended both Robert Gordon’s College and Aberdeen University. And served as an officer with the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders, in the Second World War in which he was awarded the Military Cross. 

After hostilities ceased he became a solicitor and practiced in Aberdeen before joining the procurator-fiscal service as a depute-fiscal in Dunfermline in 1950.

During this period he gained a reputation as a fiscal who was prepared to take on a difficult case and work on it to secure the best possible result.

Although he enjoyed good relations with the police and politicians, he was always careful to ensure his and the fiscal’s independence in the process of investigating and prosecuting crime.

In 1959 he was promoted to Senior Depute Fiscal at Edinburgh then, in 1963, entered the Crown Office as an assistant to the Crown agent before becoming Deputy Crown Agent in 1967 and Crown Agent and Queen’s and Lord Treasurer’s Remembrancer in 1974.

In the 1960s the fiscal service was relatively small comprising 80 lawyers throughout Scotland and significant level of backlogged cases was an accepted norm. But not for William Chalmers. 

Within a year of taking office he introduced the National Prosecution Service which would deal with sheriff and prepared high court cases while retaining responsibility for the prosecution of cases from government departments and local authorities. 

In those early years he identified a distinct lack of alternatives to prosecution and introduced fiscal fines and fixed penalties for less serious offences.  He went further and developed a system of warnings to alleged offenders and encouraged the introduction of schemes for certain offenders to be directed to social work and where applicable to make the prompt compensation for their crimes. The latter initiative was appreciated by victims who often became forgotten in the criminal process. During his tenure, the fiscal service went from strength to strength despite in latter years having to cope with a Westminster government intent on reducing public spending.

 

 

Retention of a Fiscal Service independent of Government

In his tenure he ensured the “Crown Office” would operate separate from the Scottish Office and achieved this by insisting on being directly funded by the UK treasury.

He was greatly saddened in his retirement, by changes in the fiscal service following devolution, in 1999 which he perceived weakened its independence.

He was was known to many people who had served with him as the “Real Crown Agent” and a fitting memorial to him would be for the “Fiscal Service” to recover its independence in a devolved Scotland.

William Gordon Chalmers, Crown Agent, born 4 June 1922, died 28 May  2003 (The Scotsman-Obituaries)

 

 

 

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